Doornkloof, Northern Gauteng

It is interesting, when you start tracing its roots, to realise that this part of northern Johannesburg, known as Centurion, has its heritage steeped in history despite being modern.

Lying between Pretoria and Midrand it once had not only its own town council and municipality but was also distinguishable as a separate entity from the two major cities.

Today Centurion, of which Doornkloof is part, seamlessly forms a bridge between Pretoria and Midrand. Lying at the intersection of the N1 and N14 highways all of this activity used to be three large farms, settled in 1841 – Zwartkop, Doornkloof and Brakfontein.

Doornkloof derives its name directly from these farms, as do the suburbs Erasmia, Elardus Park and Zwartkop. In 1889 Alois Hugo Nelmapius was to buy the northern and north-eastern parts of Doornkloof Farm and name it after his daughter, Irene, who died only in 1961 – alive to witness a further suburb named after her.

Doornkloof lies just south of Irene. In 1962 it combined with Irene and Lyttelton to form a city council known as Lyttelton, renamed Verwoerdburg in 1967 and changed to a more politically neutral Centurion in 1995.

A stay here is convenient for its access to OR Tambo International Airport, Pretoria and Johannesburg. Centurion and Midrand are regarded as business hubs in their own right and with the traffic congestion of Johannesburg as notorious as it is, a stay in Doornkloof is logical if business is your intention.

Even if it isn't, Irene and Doornkloof still remain slightly rural, despite the rapid growth of the area from sleepy smallholdings to thriving suburban residential areas. Pay a visit to Irene's Country Farm, where you can buy fresh milk, cheese and cream as well as sit down to a welcome tea, and you'll get the picture.

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